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You are currently viewing Which is the right Nordic walking pole for you?

Having your own pair of Nordic walking poles is liberating.  It enables you to go out any time you want, not just when there’s an organised walk on.  You can use them when and where you like and you know that you have exactly the right sort of pole for you.

So what is the right pole?  The short answer is that it’s ‘horses for courses’.  Different people have different needs and therefore suit different types of pole.  I have written a blog about this already – Which Nordic walking pole to buy .

So take a read of that.  Then have a look at the table below, which summarises the key features of the different pole types and gives the advantages and disadvantages for each sort.

Pole type  

Key features

Lengths available



Best brands

Fixed length

One piece pole. No adjustment areas

100 -130cm in

5cm increments

Very little can go wrong. Excellent ‘swing’ weight.  No vibration with top quality poles

You need to know your exact length – there’s no room for adjustment





One adjustment point half way up the shaft

100 -130cm

Large adjustment range so can be used by lots of people

Adjustment point might cause trouble. Heavier due to large adjustment range. Vibration more likely than with fixed length pole



One adjustment point at the top of the shaft

100 -130cm in 10cm increments

Small adjustment range enables walker to set pole to their exact length. Adjustment point at top of shaft minimizes vibration

Adjustment point might cause trouble. Marginally heavier + more vibration than quality fixed length pole


Travel (telescopic)

A three piece pole with two adjustment points

90 – 130cm

Can collapse to 67/62cm so can fit into suitcase/down the side of a backpack. Wide adjustment range so can be used by lots of people

Two adjustment points means more can go wrong. Higher maintenance requirement. More vibration than fixed length and extendables



Besides the type of pole other factors include:


  • Pole composition  The highest quality poles are those made from 80-100% carbon. They are the nicest poles to walk with though – take a look at my earlier blog for more information.


  • Straps  Most poles on the market today have removable straps – that is, you can clip them on and off the pole without having to take them off your hand.  It makes things much easier and I would highly recommend buying a pole with a removable strap.


  • Paw and tip  The paw is the stopper at the base of the pole.  Underneath is the tip, usually made from a very strong metal such as tungsten carbide.  Generally, you walk with the paw on when walking on hard surfaces and the paw removed when on soft surface, as this enables the tip to dig in to the ground and give you extra purchase.  Some paws are removable, others remain attached to the pole.  Some tips are round, others sharply pointed.  Once again different people prefer different styles.  I like a tip with a sharp point and a paw that remains attached to the pole – it means I don’t get mucky hands taking the thing on and off and I never lose it!

If you can, try out a variety of pole types to see which one you prefer.  I have them all and some of the other instructors at Bristol Nordic Walking do too – so just ask us.

Our walkers’ favorite poles are the Exel Curve Pro, aka ‘bendy’ pole (the curve gives it a sporty look and means you work your upper body harder) and the Exel Straight Pro.  Both are 100% carbon and an excellent choice.